Charles Bierk is a Toronto-based painter with a focus on large-scale portraits of his friends and peers. His subjects are photographed in his studio with an unscripted, come as you are approach. Bierk sorts through hundreds of his photographs before committing to a painting, hoping to discover a chance moment such as a twitch of the mouth or a hair falling over an eye, that can spark tension or intrigue. Working in a restrained palette of black and white highlights each extraordinarily detailed hair, pore and wrinkle. More recently, Bierk has developed an alternative approach to portraiture, documenting his subjects' personal assortments of sentimental objects. While the exact meaning behind each item remains unknown, the collection as a whole provides insight into the owners' history and behavior.


Charles Bierk was born in 1987 in Peterborough, Ontario. He has exhibited in Canada and the United States. In 2017, Bierk had a solo exhibition at the Grinnell College Museum of Art, Iowa for which a catalogue was published. Bierk’s paintings are included in many prominent collections across the country including a major commission for the Ivey School of Business at Western University in London, Ontario.